My BAP Experience
By ELAINE SPIEGEL
At age 65 I was ‘set-up’ to be terminated (as were others at that company). After a job search of over a year, I became a student with the Office of Lifelong Learning Senior Program, at the University of Minnesota.
Due to downsizing from our home of 46 years and purchasing a townhome a year ago, at our ages, my husband and I thought the sale of our home would provide us with enough money to live on for the rest of our lives. Well, the economy changed more and family health changes. We don’t have pensions or 401K. Now we are like many other senior (on limited income) who are looking for jobs – either part-time or full-time.
We joined Jewish Family and Children Services Senior Career Counseling, PARNOSSA and we qualified for the Platinum Program for seniors with very limited income. I heard about BAP from the 4/C printed Bulletin that JFCS gave to those who felt they needed classes.
I came to BAP out of desperation to gain computer skills like Excel and Power Point and to learn just how weak my MS Word skills are. I do well, but I’ll never be fast. My plans had been to find a Leads Generation/Outbound Sales Position. When a temp agency saw my “creative problem solving abilities and builds relationships with clients and potential clients,” they perceived me as working in project areas – which need these computer skills as tools for their jobs.
I wish that I had known about BAP 6+ months ago, but I wasn’t in JFCS, then. James DeSota was my phone introduction to BAP. He was so kind to “listen” and hear about my needs because I’d already had three phone pre-screening interviews and had just realized expectations were to develop proficiency in my three need areas. He actually scheduled me for the trainings.
My classes were scheduled in late September and October 2012 at Sabathini Community Center: Google Basics and PowerPoint with Pat Nelson; Writing a Resume with Kimberly Huebsch (who let me in and offered to proof my top 2-3 resumes, if I’d e-mail them to her); MS Word I and Excel with Katie Douglass.
Pat is an awesome instructor. She could make standing on one foot while turning to type on a computer seem possible and easy. My lack of confidence and fears are gone. She is direct, with humor and compassion. She shared just enough personal background…which is what adult learners need for a relationship. We all felt she wants us to learn and have success. I was absolutely terrified to take Power Point. Surprise! It came to me faster than Excel.
Katie did a wonderful job with the three of us in Excel I. There were many questions. All three were at different understanding and background levels. The info got through to us. With MS Word I, I found I knew three-fourths of it, but I’d never learned the vocabulary. I’d never learned to right click (because my husband had made it seem so scary).
I met Kadra and Theresa who both help the instructors out if there are too many questions “flying” or if a student is slowing down the pace. They instinctively know when and how to offer help. They also help the instructor meet class time scheduling.
Both of them were so kind, compassionate and understanding. I also learned there were people present in the BAP room any time it is open – to assist students who come in to practice on software or who don’t have a computer. The instructors move between buildings for classes.
I truly appreciate the quality and quantity of learning and the knowledge and integrity of BAP’s instructors.